Warm Handoffs: a Novel Strategy to Improve End-of-Rotation Care Transitions
Hospitalized medical patients undergoing transition of care by house staff teams at the end of a ward rotation are associated with an increased risk of mortality, yet best practices surrounding this transition are lacking.
To assess the impact of a warm handoff protocol for end-of-rotation care transitions.
A large, university-based internal medicine residency using three different training sites.
PGY-2 and PGY-3 internal medicine residents.
Implementation of a warm handoff protocol whereby the incoming and outgoing residents meet at the hospital to sign out in-person and jointly round at the bedside on sicker patients using a checklist.
An eight-question survey completed by 60 of 99 eligible residents demonstrated that 85% of residents perceived warm handoffs to be safer for patients (p < 0.001), while 98% felt warm handoffs improved their knowledge and comfort level of patients on day 1 of an inpatient rotation (p < 0.001) as compared to prior handoff techniques. Finally, 88% felt warm handoffs were worthwhile despite requiring additional time (p < 0.001).
A warm handoff protocol represents a novel strategy to potentially mitigate the known risks associated with end-of-rotation care transitions. Additional studies analyzing patient outcomes will be needed to assess the impact of this strategy.
KEY WORDScare transitions patient safety medical education-graduate
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
- 14.Sehgal N. Annual Perspective 2014: Handoffs and Transitions. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Patient Safety Network. 2015. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/perspective.aspx?perspectiveID=170.